Wednesday, December 23, 2020

MLB Hires Jeremie Rehak to Full-Time Umpire Staff

MLB has hired Wendelstedt Umpire School alum Jeremie Rehak to its full-time staff after three baseball seasons and 281 games of major league experience. Born in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, Rehak officiated his first game at the big league level on April 9, 2018 in Kansas City.

After graduating from Wendelstedt School in Florida during its 2011 course, Rehak journed through Minor League Baseball's Gulf Coast, Appalachian, Florida Instructional, Midwest, California, Eastern, Arizona Instructional, International, and Arizona Fall Leagues before earning an invitation to Major League Spring Training as well as a sleeve number assignment of #35 in 2018 alongside fellow Pennsylvanian and MLB staff member Jansen Visconti, whom MLB hired in early 2020.

Rehak has 13 ejections through his three years of call-up service and was named the UEFL's Fill-In Umpire of the Year in 2020, having previously won the same award in 2018.

News of Rehak's hire was first reported by the Wendelstedt Umpire School on Facebook and leaves a temporary overfill on the staff as MLB has yet to officially announce a corresponding retirement. Not many winters go by with excess staff on payroll, though.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Gary Cederstrom Named to North Dakota Hall of Fame

One year removed from his Major League retirement, ex-MLB umpire Gary Cederstrom will be inducted into the North Dakota Officials Association (NDOA) Hall of Fame in a nod to his football and basketball referee service at the high school level that set the foundation for his officiating career.

Cederstrom, who retired from baseball following his 2019 World Series assignment and who picked up a UEFL Award for 2019 Crew Chief of the Year on his way out, began officiating high school football and basketball games in 1975 in his hometown of Minot.

After a brief absence coinciding with his 31-year side job as a Major League Baseball umpire, Cederstrom returned to the North Dakota High School Activities Association and resumed his career as a high school football white hat, working his first game since the MLB World Series on the North Dakota gridiron in August 2020.

Cederstrom will be inducted as part of the 2020-21 North Dakota Officials Association Hall of Fame class.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Referee Attacked, Killed During Soccer Game in Kenya

Nary hours after a high school football player charged at a referee in Texas, an elderly referee has been killed during a soccer game in Kenya. Mwalimu John Chang'aa aka Okwoyo succumbed to injuries sustained when a group of players and fans attacked the officials at half time in Kisii County.

According to local reports, retired teacher John Okwoyo was officiating a contest at Gesabakwa Green Stadium between teams Apire and Ichuni Youth when the crew encountered a play during which the ball wound up in the back of one of the team's goals. However, the assistant referee had raised his flag into the air prior to the goal to signal an infraction, and the crew ultimately cancelled the score and awarded a penalty to the defending team.

The report states that at halftime shortly thereafter, the offending team surrounded the referee before fans rushed off the sidelines to join in and a group attack occurred, resulting in the referee's death as he sought medical attention.

It was unclear if a fan or a player murdered the referee, but reports indicate that one fan who kicked the elderly referee in his chest was identified and arrested by local police.

News of the referee's death comes one just over one day after Texas high school football player Emmanuel Duron attacked TASO referee Fred Garcia during a playoff game. Hours later, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District announced it had decided to remove the team from the postseason and noted "appropriate disciplinary action" would follow an investigation into the incident, while the local police department arrested Duron, who now faces at least one criminal charge.

The District wrote, "We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family" while the Texas Association of Sports Officials wrote, "Unfortunately, this type of blind-sided assault on an official while working on the field is not new to Texas football.

In 2008, Euless Trinity HS player Eric Fieilo tackled an official during a game, but evaded criminal charges. Fieilo later became a police officer at Euless PD.

Video as follows:

Thursday, December 3, 2020

COVID Criminal? Texas Football Player Attacks Referee

Our series on abuse-of-officials continues in Texas, when Edinburg High School Football defensive end Emmanuel Duron became an alleged criminal after attacking a referee following his disqualification/ejection from Thursday's game, leading to police involvement.

After a late hit on the quarterback penalty and an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Edinburg High School senior and DE Emmanuel Duron appeared to forcefully shove referee Fred Garcia during Edinburgh's Thursday's playoff play-in game against Pharr-San Juan-Alamo following the white hat's penalty announcement.

Note: The technical officiating jargon here is disqualification, but for all intents and purposes (e.g., when comparing the action to something seen in professional baseball), the decision to remove the offending player from the game is on par with an ejection.

Following the alleged criminal act, local reporter Andrew McCulloch reported that a card had been brought on the field to assist the victim. Several minutes later, the referee stood up and walked off the field under his own power.

Law enforcement identifies Duron.
Although local reports indicated that police officers escorted Duron from the field, he was not handcuffed, no arrest was reported, the officers who escorted Duron from the stadium stated "No comment, we're not at liberty to talk about that," and after a delay, the game continued with Edinburg ultimately winning the contest, 35-21.

According to the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO)'s 2020 Legislative Scorecard, Texas is one of 22 states that have passed officiating assault and/or harassment laws, though Texas' law is not exclusive to officials and rather pertains to any person who participates in a sporting event (such as players).

It states that such intentional physical contact against someone who is a sports participant shall constitute a Class B misdemeanor; however, if the victimized referee is an elderly individual, the classification would increase to Class A.

In 2008, Euless Trinity High School player Eric Fieilo attacked an official in a similar manner—blindside hit during a playoff game, his last of senior year—and, as a result, was sent to an alternative school and lost scholarship offers. Fieilo, however, was not charged with a crime.

Does crime pay? After graduating from Sam Houston State, which opted to give Fieilo a football scholarship after all, Fieilo—having not been charged for his high school alleged assault—joined the Euless Police Department, which apparently had no issue with Fieilo's purported violent battery on a fellow citizen.

13% of officials have been assaulted.
After the potential purported criminal became a police officer, Fieilo had two human interest stories written about him: one by Dallas Morning News reporter Naheed Rajwani and a second by Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bill Hanna. Both articles portrayed Fieilo's story as redemption, with Rajwani deeming him a "revered cop" who recovered from "his most embarrassing moment" and Hanna writing of Fieilo's "horrible decision."

Neither Rajwani nor Hanna mentioned Fieilo's victim and in lieu of apologizing to the man he admittedly attacked, Fieilo instead praised God for giving him a second chance and called the incident and its aftermath a "blessing."

Unfortunately, the official Fieilo hit wasn't asked to comment on how much of a "blessing" it was to have been the victim of a purportedly injurious violent crime.

Assaults on officials have resulted in several deaths over the years, including 2013's death of Utah soccer referee Ricardo Portillo at the hands of an unnamed player who he had issued a yellow card to moments earlier. In 2014, referee John Bieniewicz died after ejected player Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad allegedly punched him in the head.

So if you're ever debating about the importance of pressing charges when attacked, remember the name Elikena "Eric" Fieilo, the player who allegedly assaulted an official and instead of being charged with a crime, became a police officer in the very same town.

Friday, November 27, 2020

2020 UEFL Rules Summit Results

The 2020 Umpire Ejection Fantasy League Rules Summit is now complete with voting concluded in accordance with UEFL Rule 8-3. The 2020 Summit's results are listed below.

Visit the 2020 UEFL Rules Summit Discussion page to read detailed descriptions of the propositions listed herein.

Items agreed to and Appeals Board retentions are indicated in green highlight below and items that failed are listed in red highlighting. Proposals that gained a majority of votes, listed in green, will become rules for the 2020 Umpire Ejection Fantasy League season upon Commissioner approval. One vacancy exists on the UEFL Appeals Board, which will be filled during the pre-season registration process in 2021, whereupon nominations will be accepted and followed by a vote.

Rule 1 - Selection of Umpires
Prop 1-2: Two Crew Chiefs - 74.6% NO, 25.4% Yes.
> Would have added a second Crew Chief to each member's crew in Crew Division.

Prop 1-4: Secondary Call-Ups - 58.7% YES, 41.3% No.
> Removes roster prohibition to allow call-ups to be drafted as Secondary Umpires.

Rule 3 - Crew Division
Prop 3-3: Incorrect Ejection Scoring - 70.8% NO, 29.2% Yes.
> Would have incorporated a -2 score adjustment for incorrect crew ejections.

Rule 4 - League Scoring
Prop 4-2 B1: Confirmed/Stands/Overturned Ejection Points - 74.6% NO, 25.4% Yes.
> Would have assigned ejection points pursuant to Replay Review standards.

Prop 4-2 B4: Ejections for QOCN-Crewmate Calls - 60.9% NO, 20.3% Yes/-1, 18.8% Yes/+0.
> Would have changed points assigned for QOCN-Crewmate calls to -1 or +0 points.

Prop 4-3: Postseason Replay Review Points - 64.3% NO, 35.7% Yes.
> Would have changed Postseason Replay Review to a +2/-2 system.

Prop 4-4 C: Honorable Umpire of the Year - 66.0% YES, 34.0% No.
> Changes Award name to the Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire of the Year Award.

Prop 4-4 H: Disappointing Season - 52.1% NO, 38.0% Yes/On-Field, 9.9% Yes/Comeback.
> Would have either changed award to "on-field incidents" or replaced with Comeback Award.

Prop 4-6: Prop Predictions Removal - 57.4% NO, 42.6% Yes.
> Would have eliminated Rule 4-6 regarding Prop Predictions.

Prop 4-7: Confirmed/Stands/Overturned Replays - 61.4% NO, 38.6% Yes.
> Would have assigned Replay Points as +2 Confirmed, +1 Stands, -1 Overturned.

Rule 6 - Challenges and Appeals
Prop 6-2: Ejections of Bench Personnel as QOCY - 54.1% NO, 45.9% Yes.
> Would have assigned QOCY for bench personnel ejections.

Prop 6-4 A1: 9-Member Appeals Board - 51.8% YES, 48.2% No.
> Eliminates "five through seven" and replaces with language for a 9-person Board.

Prop 6-4 A2: Ranked Choice Voting - 68.9% NO, 31.1% Yes.
> Would have incorporated Ranked Choice voting for pre-season Appeals Board elections.

Prop 6-4 A4: Simple Majority for Appeals Board Re-Elections - 58.9% YES, 41.1% No.
> Changes Absolute to Simple Majority and addresses vacancies on Board.

Rule 9 - Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions
Prop 9-2: Overwhelming Clause - 52.3% YES, 47.7% No.
> Allows Appeals Board to initiate an overwhelming clause challenge/review.

UEFL Appeals Board Retentions/Re-Elections
Arik G: 84.8% YES, 15.2% No. (Retained)
cyclone14: 87.0% YES, 13.0% No. (Retained)
jvick2017: 78.7% YES, 21.3% No. (Retained)
MarkCanada: 87.5% YES, 12.5% No. (Retained)

Monday, November 23, 2020

2020 UEFL Rules Summit Ballot and Voting

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League Rules Summit continues with our voting stage and the 2020 Rules Summit ballot. UEFL Rule 8-3 describes this process. Visit the 2020 UEFL Rules Summit Discussion page to read all of the propositions listed herein.

This year's voting will commence Monday, November 23 and conclude Wednesday, November 25, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

The 2020 Rules Summit includes 15 rule proposals and four Appeals Board retentions. The ballot is available as follows:

Monday, November 16, 2020

2020 UEFL Rules Summit Discussion

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its 2020 UEFL Rules Summit, setting forth a framework for discussing issues and proposed amendments for the UEFL Rules Book ahead of baseball's 2021 season.

Over the next few days, this discussion thread will be a living document reflecting proposed changes to UEFL rules. Relevant dates as follows:

> Mon 11/16 thru Fri 11/20: Rules Summit discussion open.
> Sat 11/21: Rules Summit ballot prepared, voting begins.

You may propose a change to the UEFL rules by replying in a comment to this post and, accordingly, the document will be updated to reflect such proposals. Nonmaterial modifications and editorial changes will be underlined, deletions will feature strikethrough text, and material additions will be bold faced. Rationale for proposed changes and comments not part of the rule itself will be indicated in italics. See the UEFL Rules Book for reference.

Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires).
>> 1-2. Prior to the beginning of the year’s regular season, and during the spring training period of the pre-season, each member of the league shall select one two MLB crew chiefs to serve as UEFL crew chief.
Rationale: To have two umpires in every category (2 cc + 2 PRM + 2 SEC). Proposed by: wwjd2200.

>> 1-4-bUmpires classified as AAA call-ups are not eligible for draft in the secondary round.
Rationale: If a call up umpire can be a primary draft pick they should be able to be a secondary draft pick. Proposed by: wwjd2200.

Rule 2 (The Season).

Rule 3 (Crew Division).
>> 3-3. Each non-incorrect ejection committed by a UEFL crew chief’s crew shall result in the addition of one (1) point toward a UEFL member’s overall score. Each incorrect ejection shall result in the subtraction of two points (-2) toward a UEFL member's overall score.
Rationale: To treat the cc the same as the ejecting umpire by assigning negative points. Proposed by: wwjd2200.

Rule 4 (League Scoring).
>> 4-2-b-1. 2 points for an ejection occurring as a result of a player/coach arguing a correctly ruled call by the ejector that would be confirmed by replay.
4-2-b-2: 1 point for an ejection occurring as a result of a player/coach arguing a correctly ruled call by a crewmate of the ejector that would be confirmed by replay or a call by the ejecting umpire that would stand or be inconclusive via replay.
4-2-b-5: 0 points for an ejection occurring as a result of a player/coach arguing a crewmate's call that is inconclusive or would stand after replay.
Rationale: An Ejection call that is 100% correct should be rewarded with a higher point reward than a call that some may logically view as incorrect. Proposed by: Lstaben.

>> 4-2-b-4. -2 -1 or +0 points for each ejection occurring as a result of a player/coach arguing an incorrectly ruled call by a crewmate of the ejector.
Rationale: I don't think that an umpire who ejects over a crewmate's incorrect call should be penalized by two points. Maybe make it -1 or 0, a good umpire should stick up for his crew, especially young guys, when they make a mistake. Proposed by: Yeehaw.

>> 4-3-d. Postseason Replay Reviews shall be worth an additional point in both directions, such that an affirmed call shall result in +2 points while an overturned call results in -2 points. The same +2/-2 scheme shall apply to postseason Crew Division. Editor's Note: If the 4-2-b-1 / 4-2-b-2 / 4-2-b-5 proposal for ejections is adopted, 4-3-b shall be revised to indicate ejection points of: +3 QOCY (self/confirmed), +2 QOCY (crewmate/confirmed or self/stands).
Rationale: Calls made in the postseason weigh greater on the outcome of the game and series due to the small amount of games. Therefore should carry more weight in point values. Proposed by: Znyhusmoen.

>> 4-4-c. An umpire recognized as Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire 2 umpires) will receive 2 bonus points.
Rationale: For those who don't know Gera, she was the first female to umpire a professional game. Proposed by: tmac.

>> 4-4-hAn umpire whose season is recognized as Most Disappointing Season (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire) will receive -1 bonus points. An umpire recognized as Comeback Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire) will receive 1 bonus point. OR change description of Most Disappointing Season to reference 'regrettable on-field incidents.'
Rationale: The disappointing award seems to be trending towards tracking a social and/or political stance with one wrong sequence rather than the expectations and results of a full season. Many of us are regulars, so we know who's okay, good, excellent, top of the class. Comeback correctly recognizes a usually good ump who had a bad previous season(s), but performed well {this} season. It could even be recognized as the Eric Cooper Comeback Award, as he had an off-year in 2018 & exceeded expectations in 2019. Proposed by: BkSl14812.

>> 4-6Prop predictions are forecasts of what might occur during an upcoming season, series or game. They may be numerical (e.g., "On what date will the first ejection of the MLB season occur?") or objective (e.g., "What umpire will finish the season with exactly 10 ejections?").
Rationale: I propose that the section pertaining to prop predictions be eliminated as in the last couple of seasons we've not been given any prop predictions to vote on. Proposed by: wwjd2200.

>> 4-7-a-1. Calls affirmed or upheld as correct or inconclusive will result in the addition of one (1) point confirmed via replay will result in the addition of two (2) points and calls that stand via replay will result in the addition of one (1) point.
Rationale: A Replay Review call that is 100% correct should be rewarded with a higher point reward than a call that some may logically view as incorrect. Proposed by: Lstaben.

Rule 5 (Statistics).

Rule 6 (Challenges and Appeals).
>> 6-2-b-5-a: All ejections of players/coaches not on the active roster (e.g., Disabled List) as well as ejections of bench personnel shall be associated with a reason listed under aforementioned UEFL Rule 6-2-b-5 assigned a QOC of Correct.
Rationale: This shall be referred to as the "Bob Davidson Go Ump Slow Pitch Softball" rule. Proposed by: Turducken.

>> 6-4-a-1: This board shall be comprised of two UEFL Commissioners and five through seven at-large members. Board members shall rotate abstentions such that no less than three board members adjudicate each QOC appeal.
Rationale: Make 7 at large members permanent to make the appeals board always have 9 members. Proposed by: Guest.

>> 6-4-a-2-a. The pre-season election shall take the form of a plurality-at-large ranked choice voting system such that top vote recipients are elected voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots.
Rationale: I would like to propose for appeals board openings that the winner get 50% of the vote so if there is more than 2 candidates the candidate with the least votes gets eliminated after each round until someone is above 50% of the vote. [Editor's Note: Ranked Choice ensures only one cast of ballots is necessary as least-vote candidates are eliminated, if applicable. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate is declared the winner, removed, and the process repeated for subsequent vacancies. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, applicable second-preference votes elevated as applicable, and so forth, until the winner(s) are declared.] Proposed by: Uefl Observer.

>> 6-4-a-4: At the conclusion of the season and during the Rules Summit, Appeals Board members may sit for re-election/retention. An absolute simple majority is required for re-election. If a Board member fails to ascertain this during a first ballot, a run-off may be initiated. Any vacancies remaining after the re-election process shall be subject to pre-season nomination and vote, as in 6-4-a-3.
Rationale: Because Appeals Board re-elections are conducted as separate items with only YES / NO options, a runoff is not necessary. Language should be changed from "absolute" to "simple" majority to reflect that a candidate need achieve a YES vote greater than 50% for re-election to be affirmed. Any vacancies shall be decided as part of a pre-season nomination process concurrent with registration/draft, as specified by existing rule 6-4-a-3. Proposed by: Gil.

Rule 7 (Unresolved Classifications and References).

Rule 8 (Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues).

Rule 9 (Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions).
>> 9-2. All decisions regarding challenges shall be final unless overwhelming evidence surfaces to overturn the challenged decision. This overwhelming clause challenge may only be initiated by the appellate interpreter or Appeals Board of the UEFL.
Rationale: Allow the appeals board to invoke the Finality and Overwhelming Exemption.

The final portion of the Rules Summit ballot will feature 2020 UEFL Appeals Board members seeking re-election for 2020, pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-4-a-4Click here to view UEFL Appeals Board decisions from the 2020 season.

The following list includes 2020 UEFL Appeals Board members and indicated statuses for 2021.
> Gil. 2021: Yes (not subject to election), Ex-Officio Member.
> tmac. 2021: Yes (not subject to election pursuant to 2016 Rules Summit vote), Ex-Officio Member.
> Jeremy. 2021: Yes (not subject to election), Ex-Officio Member.
> RichMSN. 2021: Yes (not subject to election pursuant t2016 Rules Summit vote), Charter Member.
> Arik G. 2021: Seeking re-election via 2020 UEFL Rules Summit.
> cyclone14. 2021: Seeking re-election via 2020 UEFL Rules Summit.
> MarkCanada. 2021: Seeking re-election via 2020 UEFL Rules Summit.
> MLB Umpire Observer. 2021: Not seeking re-election via 2020 UEFL Rules Summit.
> jvick2017. 2021: Seeking re-election via 2020 UEFL Rules Summit.

Voting will occur following the 2020 Rules Summit's discussion phase. The ballot will be finalized no sooner than Saturday, November 21 and voting itself will be open for no less than three days.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Retired MLB Umpire Paul Schrieber Dies at 54

Retired Major League umpire Paul Schrieber has passed away as reported by UmpsCare on Friday. After beginning his baseball career in the 1990 Northwest Lg, Schrieber joined the NL staff in 1998 with MLB success shortly thereafter, from 2000 through 2015; he died Thursday, November 12, 2020, at the age of 54.

Schrieber's 1997 National League debut marked a culmination of a minor league journey that took the Oregon-born umpire through the Northwest, California, Florida State, Southern League, and American Association. 

Prior to his umpiring career, Schrieber played baseball at Canada Junior College and Portland State University, serving as a catcher; his father Harry also officiated baseball at the Triple-A level (Pacific Coast League).

He officiated the 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2014 Division Series, as well as the 2000 and 2015 All-Star Game and concluded his 2,207-game career with 31 ejections.

Schrieber's uniform number 43 is presently worn by call-up Shane Livensparger.

It has been a difficult year for the umpiring community, with October's loss of Derryl Cousins and July's loss of Rick Reed, with losses of Eric Cooper and Chuck Meriwether in late 2019.

With such widespread grief in the officiating community, especially as COVID-related restrictions threaten to derail or cancel sports, it may be appropriate to revisit our prior article on mental health and our recent podcast with Jack Furlong of the OSIP Foundation. As part of that discussion, we published information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available at 1-800-273-8255. In addition to the hotline, one can also chat online with a trained operator.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

2020 Final Standings & UEFL's Perfect Crew

UEFL Awards Season concludes with the 2020 Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's final standings and announcement of this year's perfect crew. The highest score in 2020 was 104 and the lowest score possible was -16, a points spread of 120 (compare to 2019's Perfect Score of 136 and lowest score of -23 [bear in mind that 2020 produced a COVID-shortened 60-game regular season vs 2019's standard 162-game schedule]).
Related Post2019 UEFL Final Standings and the Perfect Crew (11/12/19).

2020 Perfect Crew (Highest Score): 104 points.
Crew Chief (Crew Division): Angel Hernandez (21 pts).
Primary Umpires: Mark Ripperger (27 pts) & Dan Bellino (22 pts).
Secondary Umpires: Angel Hernandez (18 pts) & Jim Reynolds (16 pts).

Primary Umpire Points Leaders:
1) Mark Ripperger (27 pts)
2) Dan Bellino (22 pts)
3) Angel Hernandez (21 pts)
4) Vic Carapazza (18 pts)
5) Jim Reynolds (17 pts)
T-6) Ted Barrett, Jeremie Rehak, Quinn Wolcott (15 pts)
9) Bill Miller (14 pts)
10) Edwin Moscoso (13 pts)

2020 UEFL Imperfect Crew (Lowest Score): -16 points.
Crew Chief: Larry Vanover (-3 pts).
Primary Umpires: Mike Muchlinski (-3 pts) & Nate Tomlinson (-3 pts).
Secondary Umpires: Chad Fairchild (-4 pts) & Chad Whitson (-3 pts).

Final Standings for the 2020 UEFL Season.
Replay Review Ranking by Umpire [min. n=4] (RAP)
1) Cory Blaser (1.000, 5-for-5).
T-2) Angel Hernandez (.857, 6-for-7).
T-2) Vic Carapazza (.857, 6-for-7).
T-4) Ramon De Jesus (.833, 5-for-6).
T-4) Ben May (.833, 5-for-6).
T-4) Jansen Visconti (.833, 5-for-6).
7) Alan Porter (.800, 4-for-5).
T-8) Jim Reynolds (.750, 9-for-12).
T-8) Ryan Additon (.750, 6-for-8).
T-8) Lance Barrett (.750, 6-for-8).
T-8) Pat Hoberg (.750, 3-for-4).
T-8) Jeff Nelson (.750, 3-for-4).
T-8) Alex Tosi (.750, 3-for-4).
T-14) Mark Ripperger (.714, 10-for-14).
T-14) Chris Guccione (.714, 5-for-7).
16) Ted Barrett (.700, 7-for-10).
T-17) Brian Knight (.667, 6-for-9).
T-17) Roberto Ortiz (.667, 6-for-9).
T-17) Jeremie Rehak (.667, 6-for-9).
T-17) CB Bucknor (.667, 4-for-6).
T-17) Marvin Hudson (.667, 4-for-6).
T-22) Andy Fletcher (.636, 7-for-11).
T-22) Paul Nauert (.636, 7-for-11).
T-24) Chris Conroy (.625, 5-for-8).
T-24) Quinn Wolcott (.625, 5-for-8).
Full Results: UEFL's MLB Umpire Replay Review Statistics & Sabermetrics

Most Raw Overturns (Greatest # of Overturned Calls)
1) 8: Doug Eddings, Chad Fairchild.
2) 7: Ron Kulpa, Shane Livensparger.
3) 6: Mike Muchlinski.
4) 5: Jordan Baker, Adrian Johnson, DJ Reyburn, Chad Whitson.

2020 Ejection Leaders
1) Dan Bellino (8).
2) Mark Ripperger (5).
T-3) Vic Carapazza, Will Little (4).
T-5) Ted Barrett, Angel Hernandez, Ron Kulpa (3).

2020 UEFL Final Standings (Ties resolved per Rule 5-3)
1) ajbeisheim (65 pts).
2) cyclone14 (56 pts).
3) FVB6 (53 pts).
4) bschmidt24 (52 pts).
5) Dutch65 (49 pts).
6) MrMLBSmith (48 pts, 18 PRM-A [Carapazza]).
7) Cha Lee (48 pts, 15 PRM-A [Wolcott]).
8) braytonboggs (48 pts, 11 PRM-A [Timmons]).
9) elaresD (48 pts, 6 PRM-A [Hamari]).
10) Krusty The Clown (47 pts).
11) lshlarson (46 pts, 10 PRM-A [L Barrett] | 9 PRM-B [Hudson]).
12) andrew downs (46 pts, 10 PRM-A [Scheurwater] | 3 PRM-B [Torres]).
13) Williamsb59 (46 pts, 5 PRM-A [Bucknor]).
14) Cincyump08 (45 pts, 15 PRM-A [T Barrett]).
15) bbfan (45 pts, 14 PRM-A [Bi Miller]).
16) lsh9168 (44 pts).
17) TXWrangler (43 pts).
18) Young_Ump (42 pts, 15 PRM-A [T Barrett]).
19) ref44 (42 pts, 9 PRM-A [Tumpane]).
20) Umpirewillie100 (42 pts, 8 PRM-A [Nelson]).
21) Richard Gordon (42 pts, 4 PRM-A [Joe West]).
22) tre_n.47 (41 pts).
23) UmpAtty (39 pts, 10 PRM-A [Scheurwater]).
24) nyumpire (39 pts, 4 PRM-A [Baker] | 21 PRM-B [Hernandez]).
25) Alex Cheriel (39 pts, 4 PRM-A [Eddings] | 7 PRM-B [Marquez]).

Complete Final Standings, points, and results available via the UEFL Portal's 2020 Standings page.
Umpire Leaders available at UEFL's MLB Umpire Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics page.

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Umpire of the Year - Mark Carlson

On Veteran's Day, former Marine Mark Carlson wins UEFL's 2020 Umpire of the Year Award.
Voting: Carlson (18.8%), John Tumpane (17.0%), Pat Hoberg (10.1%).

Mark Carlson is the UEFL's 2020 Umpire of the Year.

Named an interim crew chief for the 60-game COVID schedule, Carlson drew praise for developing his crew throughout the season and again found himself with postseason assignments.

Wrote Russ, "For several years now Carlson has been one of the best Umpires in the league and that was no different this year."

Carlson officiated the 2020 Division Series round as well as the 2020 World Series, serving as Game 1's Right Field Umpire and concluding his season off the field; had the series gone to a winner-take-all Game 7, Carlson would have been the home plate umpire.

This marks the second consecutive season in which the UEFL's Best Umpire of the Year corresponds to MLB's selected umpire to officiate Game 7 of the World Series (Jim Wolf, 2019).

UEFL Awards History, Mark Carlson
Noteworthy Umpire of the Year: 2015

Mark Carlson now has 12 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (7 Previous + 5 Award = 12).
Final Standings will be released tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

2020 Ejection of the Year Award - Dan Bellino (x2)

Dan Bellino wins UEFL's 2020 Ejections of the Year Award [2019: Phil Cuzzi & Brennan Miller].

A two-fer win, Bellino ejected Twins 3B Josh Donaldson for exaggeratedly kicking dirt on home plate during a home run trot in Detroit on September 17 for the number one ejection of the 2020 season, having ejected a trio of Cincinnati Reds during a fight situation on August 29, the number two ejection sequence of 2020.

After taking a 2-0 slider from White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez in Chicago, Donaldson stepped back and expressed his displeasure, leading manager Rocko Baldelli to exit the dugout and have a brief conversation with Bellino behind home plate.

Upon his return to the batter's box, Donaldson hit Lopez's very next pitch for a solo-HR to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead. As Donaldson completed his journey around the bases, he made a point of kicking dirt onto home plate while jogging past home plate before returning to make sure Bellino had gotten the message, resulting in an ejection. Donaldson's Twins ultimately surrendered the lead on a White Sox ground ball to third base, where Donaldson would have been playing had he not been ejected; Chicago ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

Several weeks earlier, Bellino presided over a benches-clearing incident in Cincinnati after Reds batter Shogo Akiyama took a 2-1 fastball from Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay that replays indicate was located over the heart of home plate, albeit above the height of the batter's head, during a back-pick attempt at first base (catcher-to-first baseman).

Bellino ejected Reds DH Joey Votto, LF Jesse Winker, and Manager David Bell in short order after warning the trio not to come onto the field to participate in the confrontation between teams.

Voting Results (Top 3): 62 Bellino (12.5%), 41-43 Bellino (11.2%), Mike Estabrook (<10%).
Dan Bellino now has 22 points in the UEFL Standings (21 Previous + 1 Award = 22).

The final postseason award, (Best) Umpire of the Year, will be released on Wednesday.

2020 Promising Umpire Award - Hoberg & Tumpane

Pat Hoberg & John Tumpane are 2020's Promising Umpires of the Year [2019: Hoberg & Al Porter].
Voting: Hoberg (25.0%), Tumpane (18.4%), Jordan Baker (14.2%), Adam Hamari (13.2%).

Pat Hoberg & John Tumpane are UEFL's 2020 Promising Umpires of the Year.

2019's top vote getter for Promising Umpire of the Year Pat Hoberg repeats with back-to-back Promising Awards as Hoberg adds to his impressive postseason résumé for a 2017 full-time hire to the MLB staff.

Hoberg officiated the 2020 Wild Card Round as well as his first League Championship Series, meaning that Hoberg has officiated the highest possible round of the postseason he has been eligible for ever since he became a full-time umpire (hired in 2017, Wild Card Game in 2018, Division Series in 2019, League Championship Series in 2020). Will Hoberg soon see a World Series?

Praised for his pose and command of the game, Hoberg's 99.3% mark tied for the highest plate score of the 2020 LCS with this year's second Promising Umpire of the Year Award winner, John Tumpane, after the real-time balls/strikes computer initially ruled that Tumpane had officiated a perfect game pursuant to UEFL f/x rules. In the end, both Hoberg and Tumpane came up just one pitch shy.

Tumpane similarly has officiated every postseason since his first year of eligibility in 2017 following his 2016 hiring and also worked his first League Championship Series in 2020.

UEFL Awards History, Pat Hoberg
Promising Umpire of the Year: 2019

UEFL Awards History, John Tumpane
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2017
Fill-In Umpire of the Year: 2015

Pat Hoberg now has 12 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (9 Previous + 3 Award = 12).
John Tumpane now has 9 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (6 Previous + 3 Award = 9).
The next postseason award to be released will be Ejection of the Year.

Monday, November 9, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Honorable - Hernandez & West

Angel Hernandez & Joe West are 2020's Honorable Umpires [2019: Eric Cooper & Chris Guccione].
Voting Results: Hernandez (13.3%), West (11.1%), Ted Barrett (10.6%), Laz Diaz/Jim Reynolds (10.0%).

Angel Hernandez & Joe West are UEFL's 2020 Honorable Umpires of the Year.

With a spotlight thoroughly focused on him during a still-in-litigation dispute with Major League Baseball over the league's purported failure to promote him to Crew Chief prior to 2017, Hernandez finally had an opportunity to lead a crew as an interim chief during the COVID-modified 2020 season.

Hernandez's 21 points in Crew Division were the most for any Chief during the 2020 season.

Said RIABUAvp, "Went out and led his crew capably + earned a playoff plate despite all the usual ridiculous noise from the general public and the pending suit with the league in the background. Then had a terrific plate performance. Not to mention he was obviously working through some injury with some type of cast or brace on his arm all year, but I don't believe he missed an assignment."

Hernandez's Division Series plate during San Diego-Los Angeles NLDS Game 2 produced a 97.8% score, which was second-highest during the series to Bill Miller's 98.4% in Game 3, and prompted a slew of tweets from usual Angel-critics praising Hernandez for a quality plate performance during the postseason.

Joe West, meanwhile, began 2020 testifying on Hernandez's behalf in the ongoing discrimination lawsuit against MLB, while simultaneously winning his defamation lawsuit against Paul Lo Duca when the latter opted to defend his position by ignoring the suit.

After initially complaining that COVID-19 deaths were exaggerated, West nonetheless began wearing a face covering during the season's second week, battled through a bloody bat-to-the-head injury by later returning to that game as a base umpire, and backed up crew mate Hunter Wendelstedt in requesting Nationals GM Mike Rizzo's removal from a game in Atlanta.

West thus wins this award not necessarily for one specific action—and perhaps in spite of several of them—but for his long-held philosophy and creed for officiating:
"My first responsibility is to the game of baseball. That doesn’t mean the commissioner’s office. That means the game. The second responsibility is to your profession. When I get on my pedestal at the union meetings, I tell them to be moral, honest, true and correct. If you do them in that order, nothing you do out there will be wrong."
UEFL Awards History, Angel Hernandez
Promising Umpire of the Year: 20102012, 2014
Most Improved Umpire of the Year: 2015, 2016

UEFL Awards History, Joe West
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2009
Ejection of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018

Angel Hernandez now has 21 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (19 Prev + 2 Award = 21).
Joe West now has 4 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (2 Prev + 2 Award = 4).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Promising Umpire of the Year.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Crew Chief - Jim Reynolds

Jim Reynolds wins the UEFL's 2020 Crew Chief of the Year Award [2019 Winner: Gary Cederstrom].
Voting Results: Reynolds (13.7%), Bill Miller (13.2%), Mark Carlson (12.7%), Joe West (11.7%).

Jim Reynolds is the 2020 UEFL Crew Chief of the Year.

In his first season as a full-time Crew Chief, Reynolds commanded a COVID-modified crew that effectively featured two call-up umpires, given that Reynolds' season-opening number two—Jim Wolf—suffered a season-ending concussion injury nary one week into the season.

Explained Russ, "He and his crew were fantastic all season and he ended up being an LCS CC despite it only being his first season as a full time CC. That is unheard of but his work all season and in the Playoffs was phenomenal."

Reynolds concluded the 2020 season with 10 points in Crew Division.

UEFL Awards History, Jim Reynolds
Ejection of the Year: 2015

Jim Reynolds now has 17 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (16 Previous + 1 Award = 17).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Honorable Umpire of the Year.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire - Jeremie Rehak

Jeremie Rehak wins UEFL's Fill-In Umpire of the Year Award for 2020 [2019 Winner: Jansen Visconti].
Voting Results: Rehak (19.3%), Ben May (16.3%), Sean Barber (15.8%), John Libka (14.9%).

Jeremie Rehak is the 2020 UEFL Fill-In Umpire of the Year.

Two years after last capturing this award, Rehak again takes the Fill-In of the Year title. Rehak's two ejections in 2020 were both associated with correct calls and his on-field performance throughout the season prompted a simple summation from Turducken: "Jeremie Rehak is ready."

2020 was Rehak's third season as a minor league call-up umpire (thus, he won Fill-In of the Year following his rookie season) and, having entered 2020 with 231 games of MLB experience, Rehak has been on pace for a quality look at a full-time opportunity.

UEFL Awards History, Jeremie Rehak
Fill-In Umpire of the Year: 2018

Jeremie Rehak now has 15 points in the UEFL Standings (13 Previous + 2 Award = 15).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Crew Chief of the Year.

Friday, November 6, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Triple-Digit Rookie - Edwin Moscoso

Edwin Moscoso wins the Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire Award for 2020 [2019: N/A]
Voting Results: Moscoso (32.5%), Jose Navas (12.0%), Junior Valentine (10.5%).

Edwin Moscoso is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2020 Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year.

In an unprecedented year with a pandemic and veteran MLB umpire opt-outs, 19 Minor League Umpires made their MLB debuts in a temporary/fill-in capacity during the 2020 season. Of these, Moscoso was the first to appear, working his first MLB game in Los Angeles on July 23.
Related PostMLB Debut of Umpire Edwin Moscoso (7/23/20).

Moscoso, who finished the season with two ejections, earned praise from UEFL'ers for his situation handling; said Michael, "Outside of the uniform number you would have no idea that he was a 'taxi squad' member," with several commenters opining that Moscoso demonstrated his readiness for the major league level.

UEFL Awards History, Edwin Moscoso
None

Edwin Moscoso now has 13 points in the UEFL Standings (11 Previous + 2 Award = 13).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Fill-In Umpire of the Year.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Most Improved - CB Bucknor

CB Bucknor wins the Most Improved Umpire Award for 2020 [2019: Doug Eddings, Eric Cooper]
Voting Results: Bucknor (16.2%), Mike Estabrook (7.9%), Angel Hernandez (7.3%).

CB Bucknor is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2020 most improved umpire of the year.

During the 2020 postseason, Bucknor officiated his first Division Series since 2013, earning a Game 2 Plate assignment during the Rays-Yankes American League Division Series. He also officiated the 2020 Wild Card round.

During the season, Bucknor occasionally served as acting crew chief in the absence of regular season chief Jeff Nelson, and earned praise from voters for that role.

Wrote baseballfollower, "CB is long the punching bag of announcers, fans and casual viewers. Not this year. Happy for him and he was EXCELLENT filling in as a CC."

After his ALDS plate job, USA Today published an article criticizing Bucknor's strike zone in which the article itself fared poorly against fact checking with four of seven claims refuted by evidence: It may very well be that as strike zone technology becomes more accessible, we may be in similar positions to run the numbers and fact check media critiques, vindicating long-maligned umpires like Bucknor.

Dale Scott wrote a guest op-ed article similarly coming to Bucknor's defense.

UEFL Awards History, CB Bucknor
Most Improved Umpire of the Year: 2013, 2014
Worst Umpire of the Year: 2017

CB Bucknor now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Previous + 1 Award = 5).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Disappointing Season - Rob Drake

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's first Postseason Award is for Most Disappointing Season, which this year is Rob Drake (30) [2019 Winner: Rob Drake].
Voting Results (Top 3): Drake (26.2%), Hunter Wendelstedt (9.5%), Angel Hernandez (8.9%).

The UEFL Awards as defined in Rule 4-4 begin with Most Disappointing Season, below, and continue with Most Improved, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Honorable, Promising, Ejection(s) of the Year and concluding with Umpire of the Year. 235 total ballots were cast during this year's nominations process.

Rob Drake receives 2020's Most Disappointing Season Award.

As occasionally occurs with a Most Disappointing Season Award, Drake's nomination may have hinged on a poorly timed bad day at the office, which happened to be the final day of the 2020 regular season. During September 27's Padres-Giants season finale, Drake called a plate of 89.9% by UEFL f/x standards, which constituted a statistical outlier compared to baseball's larger body of plate work.

For some, the interplay of a sub-90 plate score (83.8% on ML Public) during San Francisco's do-or-die game to make the postseason, capped off by an incorrect strike three call that effectively shut the door on 2020 at Oracle Park, was enough to define an entire season of work, when not even Drake's above-average rank on Replay Affirmation Rate (T-22nd) or sole 2020 ejection over a correctly officiated interference call in Arizona would be enough to prevent an overwhelming nomination for this award.

Said baseballfollower, "Came back 'rebranded' with the bucket hat and had probably the worst HP job I have seen with the game on the line in SD-SF. Just shocked at how far he has slipped since 2015, and his regression is no longer a one off. I think he needs to work with Ted Barrett or Jeff Nelson next year and really get back on track."

Juanantonio Guevara was more blunt: "He fell off hard this season and just got lost, in a bad way."

In a year during which nearly every eligible umpire officiated the 2020 postseason (e.g., Tony Randazzo, Jim Wolf, and Hunter Wendelstedt were not eligible due to injuries), Drake was assigned to the NL Wild Card series in San Diego as Game 1's right field umpire, under the watchful eye of his regular season crew chief, Bill Miller.

And, yes, we'd be remiss if we didn't again mention the same Rob Drake Twitter incident that led to his nomination for the 2019 Most Disappointing Season Award. Is it fair to hold Drake's infamous "cival war" tweet against him over a year later? Probably not, but as we stated last fall, major league umpires should not make public statements on politics lest perceptions become permanently tarnished. For Drake, that lesson appears to have carried over into 2020—it doesn't help that MLB's subsequent investigation failed to generate a public outcome—and may be reflected in the voting for this award just as 9/27 was.

UEFL Awards History, Rob Drake
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2016.
Most Disappointing Season: 2019.

Rob Drake now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Previous - 1 Award = 5).
The next postseason award, Most Improved Umpire of the Year, will be released next.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

2020 UEFL Year-End Awards Nominations Open

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's Postseason Awards nomination season coincides with the 2020 Presidential Election and you have a chance to have your voice heard by voting for Umpire of the Year categories from Best, Promising, Honorable, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Most Improved, Ejection, and Disappointing Season. Fill out the following form to cast your ballot and comment here to discuss rationale. You may cast your Awards votes through Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. Don't forget to vote.

Link to Postseason Awards Ballot (also appears below):
a. Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 1 umpire) [+5 pts]
b. Promising Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 2) [+3]
c. Honorable Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2) [+2]
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) [+2]
d.1 Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) [+2]
e. Most Improved Umpire (min. 0 / max. 1) [+1]
f. Crew Chief of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) [+1]
g. Best Ejection of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2) [Link: 2020 MLB Ejections List] [+1]
h. Most Disappointing Season (min. 0 / max. 1) [-1]


An eligible umpire may be selected for as many or as few awards as that umpire is eligible for; Ballots will be accepted until 11:59pm on Tuesday, November 3, with awards distribution beginning shortly thereafter.

All 12 Triple-A Umpires who were on the 2019 call-up list are eligible to be written in for any UEFL Award, in addition to the Fill-In Umpire of the Year award (see 2020 Call-Up Umpires, sorted by MLB experience). The 19 minor league umpires authorized to call MLB games in 2020 and who made their MLB debuts during the 2020 season, signified by their triple-digit sleeve jersey numbers, are eligible for a 2020-exclusive award, the Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year Award. Umpires named by MLB as interim chiefs for the 2020 season (see MLB Names 7 Interim Crew Chiefs for 2020 and 2020 MLB Umpire Crews [Modified for Coronavirus Season]) are eligible for this year's Crew Chief of the Year Award.

Definitions:
a. Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the best MLB Umpire the past year, bar none. This Umpire has been more dedicated, professional, and positive than all others. This award will be given to one umpire.
b. Promising Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been dedicated, professional, and has worked hard. Perhaps a rising star, the Promising Umpire of the Year is an umpire to keep an eye on, for an expectation of great things down the line. Formerly known as Noteworthy Umpire of the Year, this award will be given to one or two umpires.
c. Honorable Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the most honorable Umpire during the past year. Perhaps through Community Service, or through struggling with and overcoming his own difficulties, this Umpire has been the most personally admirable of all. This award may or may not be given to either one or two umpires.
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the best AAA Call-Up Umpire the past year, bar none. This Umpire has been the most dedicated, professional, and positive AAA/Non-MLB Full Time Umpire of all non-MLB Full Time Umpires. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire who also worked at least one MLB game during the 2019 regular season.
d.1 Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year: An award just for 2020, this umpire had an MLB debut during the COVID-modified 2020 season, signified by a uniform with a triple-digit sleeve number, and made the most of this shortened season and impromptu try-out at the major league level. This award may or may not be given to one umpire who had an MLB debut in 2020.
e. Most Improved Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has improved his overall performance from the previous season more noticeably than any other Umpire. Generally, this umpire has developed into a solid arbiter within the past year. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.
f. Crew Chief of the Year: This Umpire has been the best MLB Umpire Crew Chief, the past year, bar none. This Umpire has led his crew(s) better than all others. This award will be given to one umpire.
g. Best Ejection of the Year: In the form of "Ejection 123: Umpire (1)," this award recognizes the best ejection(s) of the year. Nominated and selected due to form, mechanics, entertainment value, reason for ejection, or overall quality, the Best Ejection of the Year is awarded to one or two umpires for one or two specific ejections. The award may be given to one umpire for two separate ejections, in which case, he receives one point for each ejection.
h. Most Disappointing Season: This Umpire has demonstrated a regression in ability, and might have had a regrettable incident(s) occur in-season. The Most Disappointing Season award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.

Ballot as follows:

Monday, October 26, 2020

Discussion of 2020 World Series

With MLB's 2020 postseason drawing to a conclusion with a #Rays-#Dodgers #WorldSeries in Texas, CloseCallSports.com prepares for the final home plate umpire plate score reports of the season, beginning with Laz Diaz for Game 1.

Umpire lineups are listed for all potential games of the series and, in accordance with UEFL f/x 3.0 framework, plate scores and skews are generated following completion of each game pursuant to UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a (Kulpa Rule) and 6-2-b-b (Miller Rule). Preliminary scores are scores calculated at the conclusion of play based on raw and placeholder values while Final scores are populated the morning after each game, factoring in post-game processing and data correction by the league.


- 10/20 TB@LAD Gm 1: Laz Diaz. 120/123 Balls + 46/48 Strikes = 166/171 = 97.1%. Skew: +1 TB.
Final for Diaz: 119/123 + 46/48 = 165/171 = 96.5%. Effect: -1 / -0.6% / -1 Skew. +0 Neutral.

- 10/21 TB@LAD Gm 2: Todd Tichenor. 92/99 Balls + 42/44 Strikes = 134/143 = 93.7%. Skew: +1 LA.
Final for Tichenor: 94/99 + 42/44 = 136/143 = 95.1%. Effect: +2 / +1.4% / +0 Skew. +1 TB.

- 10/23 LAD@TB Gm 3: Bill Miller. 93/94 Balls + 55/56 Strikes = 148/150 = 98.7%. Skew: +0 Neutral.
Final for Miller: 94/94 + 54/56 = 148/150 = 98.7%. Effect: +0 / +0.0% / +2 Skew. +2 LA.

- 10/24 LAD@TB Gm 4: Chris Guccione. 117/119 Balls + 44/45 K = 161/164 = 98.2%. Skew: +1 LA.
Final for Guccione: 117/119 + 44/45 = 161/164 = 98.2%. Effect: +0 / +0.0% / +0 Skew. +1 LA.

- 10/25 LAD@TB Gm 5: Marvin Hudson. 104/105 Balls + 48/49 K = 152/154 = 98.7%. Skew: +2 LA.
Final for Hudson: 104/105 + 47/49 = 151/154 = 98.1%Effect: -1 / -0.6% / -1 Skew+1 LA.

- 10/27 TB@LAD Gm 6: Jerry Meals. 85/90 Balls + 33/37 Strikes = 118/127 = 92.9%. Skew: +1 LA.
Final for Meals: 85/90 + 33/37 = 118/127 = 92.9%Effect: +0 / +0.0% / +0 Skew+1 LA.

Series Complete: Final Cumulative Score: 613/630 + 266/279 = 879/909 = 96.7%. Skew: +4 LA.

Note: The highest plate score during the 2019 World Series was Alan Porter's 98.2% (WS Game 1).
The highest overall plate score during the 2019 postseason was James Hoye's 99.3% (NLDS Gm 4).
The highest plate score thus far during the 2020 postseason is Jordan Baker's 99.4% (ALWC Gm 1).

Marvin's Margot Mischief - Umpire Hudson's Steal at Home

Although Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw caught Rays runner Manuel Margot stealing home in Game 5 of the #WorldSeries in the span of seconds, for HP Umpire Marvin Hudson, years of training and education contributed to a quick-draw out/safe call.

To recap, Tampa Bay's Margot led off the bottom of the 4th with a walk and stole second base in short order, advancing to third on a missed catch error by LA second baseman Chris Taylor, all with zero out.

Two outs later, Margot still stranded at third base, the young center fielder attempted to steal home, trying to catch Kershaw and battery-mate Austin Barnes. And that's when Hudson had to cram years of experience into about five seconds.

Pitcher: The first consideration for Hudson was Kershaw. As Kershaw became aware of Margot's sprint home, he lifted his pivot foot and stepped off the back of the pitcher's plate and, in doing so, became a fielder with no obligation to deliver a pitch (for having disengaged from the rubber). Once Hudson saw Kershaw remove his back foot from the rubber, he knew not to call a balk or officiate a pitch, but instead a potential throw to catcher Barnes.

Batter
: Similarly, Kershaw's disengagement cued in batter Kevin Kiermaier to exit the batter's box. Official Baseball Rules 6.01(a)(3) and 6.03(a)(3) prohibit a batter from "making any other movement that hinders the catcher's play at home base," and in this situation wherein the pitcher has legally disengaged from the pitcher's plate, the batter shall vacate the batter's box lest (s)he be put in jeopardy of hindering the catcher's play at home.

With less than two out, as in Rule 5.09(b)(8), the runner is out, while with two out, the batter is out for interference. In other words, had Kiermaier remained in the box and swung at Kershaw's throw to Barnes after Kershaw legally disengaged the pitcher's plate, he would be guilty of interference and, with two out, Kiermaier would be declared out (no run would count).

Catcher/Runner
: Although baseball's plate blocking rule always has a bearing on plays at home plate, on steals of home, the catcher generally will receive the throw prior to the runner's arrival, which would allow him to legally block access upon receipt of the baseball. Nonetheless, Barnes doesn't appear to block Margot's path to score.

Umpire: Finally, Hudson knows time is limited so he takes one simple read step to the right of his starting position at point-of-plate, and from this angle roughly along the left field foul line extended, is able to officiate this play thanks to obtaining the keyhole angle or wedge needed to see the potential tag.

Replay Review: Following the play, Margot signaled that he wanted a video review of the play, but the Manager's Challenge must come from, well, the manager. Because Kevin Cash opted not to challenge Hudson's call, despite each team's allotment of two Manager's Challenges during the postseason, this play was not reviewed. A Crew Chief Review for such a play cannot occur until the 8th inning, and only if the team has exhausted its supply of Manager's Challenges.

Video as follows:

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Willy Adames' Subtle Push Part II - Fool Me Twice

After Max Muncy's Game 4 adventure with Rays SS Willy Adames at second base, Tampa Bay's shortstop tried for an encore performance with Dodgers runner Austin Barnes during #WorldSeries Game 5, resulting in another umpire's out call. Was this call the proper one or did Adames get greedy?

To review, 2B Umpire Mark Carlson during Game 4 declared Los Angeles batter-runner Max Muncy out at second base after an overslide into Adames, during which both players tumbled to the ground on the third-base side of the bag.

In our analysis, we discussed Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(4), the Definition of Terms' entry for oversliding, and MLB Umpire Manual standard for a fielder pushing or forcing a runner off a base. Conclusion: Carlson's call was correct; the runner was properly declared out on the tag after oversliding second base.

In Game 5, Adames repeated his putout antics by tagging Barnes as he slid headfirst into second base and attempted to remain on the base with his left foot. This, too, resulted in an out call from 2B Umpire Laz Diaz.

Compare and Contrast, Gil's Call
: Unlike the Muncy play, it would appear that Barnes was forced or pushed off of second base by Adames.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, compared to Game 4's play in which Muncy appeared to be the player responsible for the bulk of the forceful contact with his opponent (Muncy crashed into Adames), in Game 5, Adames appears to be the player responsible for the collision by virtue of diving into (or onto) Barnes, who is sliding headfirst and has only his legs at the base.

Second, Adames appears to actively direct his right hand—his non-glove hand without the ball—directly into Barnes' left leg and, in doing so, pushes Barnes off the base. Although the rule does not require the act to be intentional in order for the umpire to judge that a runner has been improperly pushed off of a base, it appears that Adames' act—not the runner's momentum—primarily caused Barnes to break contact with the base, meaning the proper remedy would be to declare the runner safe.

That said, this is a judgment call, and if the umpire's judgment, Barnes would have been unable to hold the base even without the fielder's perceptively illegal intervention, the proper call would be to declare the runner out—even if the fielder intentionally caused the runner to come off of the base.

Your mileage may vary | Video as follows:

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Was Max Muncy's Fall From 2nd Base a Legal Out?

When Dodgers batter-runner Max Muncy slid into second base during the 5th inning of Saturday's #WorldSeries game, Rays shortstop Willy Adames tagged him out, but was there an illegal force-off that 2B Umpire Mark Carlson missed? Momentum notwithstanding, should Muncy have been declared safe for the fielder's improperly forcing him off of second base?

In 2018, we reviewed a similar fielder-pushes-runner-off-base question in Anaheim, when Blue Jays infielder Devon Travis kept a tag on Anaheim's Jose Fernandez, finding an out as Fernandez momentarily lifted his left foot off of the bag. Even before that, Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek may too have pulled Braves baserunner Ron Gant off of first base during Game 2 of the 1991 World Series. What's the rule?
Related PostReplay Rewind - Runner Pushed Off Base (6/25/18).

With Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(4) appearing rather generic (a runner is out when "he is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base"), the bread and butter for this call is found in the Definition of Terms: "OVERSLIDE (or OVERSLIDING) is the act of an offensive player when his slide to a base, other than when advancing from home to first base, is with such momentum that he loses contact with the base."

Voluntary adjustment or forced off?
Even more to the point, the MLB Umpire Manual states, "If in the judgment of an umpire, a runner is pushed or forced off a base by a fielder, intentionally or unintentionally, at which the runner would have otherwise been called safe, the umpire has the authority and discretion under the circumstances to return the runner to the base he was forced off following the conclusion of the play."

Finally, this play is largely officiated, just as Carlson does here, with patience and great regard for its totality: To determine whether the "runner would have otherwise been called safe," several questions must be asked.

Has the runner's slide left him with momentum into the base? Has he proven himself to possess body control thus enabling him to undoubtedly remain on the base, if not for the fielder's actions? Did the fielder exert his own momentum onto the runner to cause the runner to break contact with the base? Would the runner have had a tough time remaining on the base without the fielder's presence? Who initiated the bulk of the contact to begin with?

Gant is vertical while Muncy is leaning.
This play between Muncy and Adames contrasts with Gant and Hrbek thusly: When Gant steps back into first base, he remains vertical and appears to arrest his momentum that would have otherwise taken him into foul territory. Muncy, however, appears to maintain a lean to the left of the base (oriented toward third base) even prior to falling into Adames' arms; he doesn't appear to be trying for third, naturally, but nonetheless portrays a center of gravity that is consistently moving away from second base without the same deceleration displayed by Gant.

The aforementioned occurs prior to the fielders' potential actions in forcing the runner off the base: In Minnesota, Hrbek pulls his glove upward while hooked underneath Gant's leg, thus causing Gant to rise off the base, all occuring after Gant demonstrated body control while remaining in an upright posture.

Meanwhile, in Arlington, Muncy is already falling toward third base prior to Adames wrapping his arms and potentially pulling backward.

For this reason—body control demonstrated by Gant and not by Muncy—it would appear that 2B Umpire Mark Carlson correctly ruled Muncy out at second base, for failing to demonstrate that he would have been unequivocally safe if not for Adames' actions.

Video as follows: